Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan is a book cover with its soft pink background and sweet little cupcakes and swirls would normally have me scanning the bookshelves for something else, but because this book was lent to me by a friend, I gave it a go and I’m glad I did.
I don’t know what it is about Chick Lit covers and the need for them to be pink and fluffy. It turns out that I do enjoy the genre when in fact I’ve found myself closing other chick lit novels after the first five pages in other instances. I think publishers should really design two covers for these types of book or at least come up with some sort of alternative branding so that they attract more readers.
When I see pink swirly covers, I’m thinking that the story will be too sugary and the writing over the top and thus I won’t enjoy it. BUT like they say, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, of course you can and sometimes the cover is a very accurate representation of the contents. In this case, the publisher could have used an image of a cafe or a small round table with a woman drinking coffee with a cupcake beside on a plate. It might just be me, but a real image of someone or something goes a lot farther for me than the swirling designs and splashes of pastel colours.
Anyways, moving on to the actual story. Issy Randall can bake, having grown up in her Grandpa’s bakery, she has gained his recipes and the talent of making delicious sweets. When she is laid off at work (made redundant), she decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe, even though her friends point out that she’s not the most business-minded person. So the question is, will the Cupcake Cafe and Issy make it to success?
What first struck me while reading the beginning, was all the popular culture references. They were all so modern that it after about the 4th reference, I checked the publishing date and what do you know, 2011. It was very interesting to read a book that was “hot of the press” because the last 10 books I’ve read were all published at least a few years ago. The popular culture references gives you a whole new level of connection to the story and the main character, Issy.
In this book, there is quite a lot of narration and backstory. One of the major “no-no’s” all new writers are told to avoid. BUT it works in this book. Its necessary and interesting. So it just goes to show, if you can break the rules and make it great, then go for it.
There is also not too much dialogue, which you would think makes for slow reading, but on the contrary, it goes quite quickly. It feels more like you’re reading the main character’s account as she is looking back on it. I liked how the book gave me the feeling of reading a story. I think a lot of novels these days try to make you “forget” you’re reading a story, but its also quite enjoyable to read a story sometimes rather than following action after action and the back and forth of all the dialogue.
Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe is a smooth ride. If you like the boy meets girl kind of story, then you will enjoy this one. I will definitely be checking out Jenny Colgan’s other 10 books.
Do you like to read Chick Lit? Are you drawn in or turned off by the covers? Have you ever discovered an author you like through a friend’s recommendation?